ASHTON-UNDER-LYNE          BLACKBURN             BOLTON 

                    BURNLEY      BURY        CHORLEY       COLNE                   

              LANCASTER            LIVERPOOL                      MANCHESTER 

       OLDHAM         PRESCOT          PRESTON 

    ROCHDALE      ST. HELENS              WARRINGTON      WIGAN



by James Pigot (1828-9)


A palatine and mal'itime county, in consequence eminently conspicuous asrega1d.~ manufactures and of immeasurable importance in its value to the revenue of this kingdom, is between 53o 20' and54o 25' north latitude, and between 2° 0' and 3° 17' west longitude; it is bounded ou the north by Cumberland and Westmorland, on the east by Yorkshire, on the south by Cheshire and Derbyshire and on the west by the Irish sea. Its extreme length from north to south (including a detached hundred called. Fu1'Dess! w~icb is separated on the north..\vest by a creek at the bead of Morecan1be Bay) 1s seventy-four mlles, and tts greatest bt·eadth,

which is at the southern end, about forty-five miles ; its circumference is about 240 mile~, and its sua-face

1765 square nliles. 'fhe area of the county comprise:s l ,130',000 acres of land, of which about 35,000 are in

tillage 450 000 in pastui·e,- and about 400,000 in woodland n1oors and n1osses. .

NAI\'iE AN~ ANCIENT HlSToav.-In the ancient history of this county we find that it was originally inbabited

by the Setantii, ·or Segantii, signifying a people dwelling in the country of the waters; they ~ere succeeded

by the Brigantes, who also ha~ a .very ex.tended track of .country•. ,~.,he whole of. tbts county w~s

denominated by the Romans, Brz.tannza super~o1·. The Saxons tncl.uded t! tn. Not·thu~bna,_ and formed 1t

into a separate county a~out 680, soon after the conquest. of tt by E~1·1d: at tlu~ penod th.e Roman

Alauna (tbe site of which 1s doubtful) was made the tnetropohs of the shue, and lent 1ts appellation to the

county. Soon after the introduction of Christianity, this county, along with othrrs of the kingdom, were

divided into parishes.; and about this p~riod religious festivals 'Yere instituted by t!1e priests, which. comn1enced on the evening. of the day dedicated to the patron sa1nt, and hence obtained the appellation of

wakes, ·which are still continned in many parts of the countv, aud even tolerated on the sabbath, although

the offices of religio.n have long ceased· to form any part ofr t_he upon these popular

assemblages. Previous to, and nnder the Norman dynasty, tlns county was distinguished as an Honour, and

was of the superior clasi of seigniories. 'l'he ·tlrst earl of Lancaster was Edmund Crouchbaclc, youngest

son of Henry Ill. In the time of the valiant John of Gaunt, fourth son of Edward, the county of

Lancaster was advanced to the dignity of a. palatinate, by·a royal patent : it· confers the title of Duke

of I~ancaster on the King, and Inany o.ther high titles are derived by nobility fa·om this county. Lancashire

has been, at a gr·eat variety of periods in history, the scene. of contention and theatre of strife, and turbulenl

faction has at times reared its di~contented head. "fhe sanguinary conflicts between the houses of York and

. Lancaster, and the royal forces of Charles I. and those of the parliament, under Cromwell, as well as the

suppOTt which the pretende1· received from the disaffected, have stained the fields of this countv with blood.

·"rhe battle of Flodden Field, of more early date, gave testimony to the J>rowess of the men of Lancashh·e,

and the achievements of the heroic! bowmen and billmen, fron1 the several districts of Warrington, Wif{an,

Rochllale, Preston, Blackburn, Bolton, &c. A very extraordinary page in Lancashire history must not be

omitted tile Lancasltire Witches; these personages,. who, in forn1er times, Ul'ied to Infatuate and

strike terror to the weak, are now, in these happier days, deprived ofthe latter power, but possess the for1ner

undiminished, and exercise it uncontrouled over all cla~ses, the strongest at times owning their S\Vay: yet

so little is their influence dreaded, that the term once opprobl'ious, is now ado~ted to express admiration,

and the spirit of the convivial board is heightened when the horn is lifted to the " Lancashire Witches.'' But,

to go back to the age when the intellects of many individuals were darkened by this most preposterous superstition, to which even the legislature lent its countenance, and to which the tribunals offered np victims :-

the case of Ferdinand, fifth Earl of Derby, afford~ one of the most striking, and best authenticated instances on record, of the power which th1s delusion exercised over the mind. On the 5th of April, 1594,

he was seized with mortal sickness, produced probably by poison, secretly administered, and after suff'~ri»g

great torture he died· on the 12th of the same month. While his complaint was at its height an image of wax

was found in his chan1bet·, with hair of the same colour as that of the earl, stuffed into the belly, uo doubt

to encourage the supposition that. he was the vktim of supernatural agency, and which himself set'med to

believe, as " he frequently cried out that the doctors laboured in vain, beca1Jse he was certainly bewitched."

In the satue year the Rev. John Darrell was an actor in· this scene of intposition, and a believer in the doctrine of the possession and disposseesion of demoniacs; and one Hartley was executed for practising magic•

In 1612 the belief in witchcraft continued to exist, and nineteen notorious witches were arraigned and t1·ied at.

L~ncaster assizes, on the 6t_h of August, of that ye~r; but it does not appear that any !>f them sutft!red. In

1633, other cases of demoniac agency became cognizable, and so much 1mportauce dtd they assume1 that

Charles I. in person, and his physicians, judged one of the cases; when the accused were set at Jioerty,

not fro1n th~ discretion of the·king, or cunning of the couucil, but from the discrepancy of the witnesse~.

and the appearance of the fact of subornation upon the part of son1e of them. "fhese are only a few of the

nun1erous instances of fraud and credulity which exhibited then1selves in this county, age after age, under

1he delusion of witchcraft and den1onalogy. Happily our (.'riminal code now is fre~d ti·on1 the l'eproach once

attached to it, by the re1noval of all the statutes relating to witchcraft.

SoiL, AGRICULTURE AND CLIMATE.-'rhe soil of Lancashire appears under several distinct heads: in Lons-

<lale, on the borders of the sea, it is perhaps less productive than most parts, being of a sandy marsh nature.

'l'he elevated part of the hills is in general moory, heathy aud rocky ; the fiat tracts are chiefly described as

loam or clay, gt·avel and peat being found in various proportions in all. "J'he principal surface distinctions of

soil are heath, moor, holme loam, clay, sand, and tnoss or peat; and the under strata are·rock of differenl

kinds, as grit, or free stone, blue stone, lime stone, fossil, coal, clay, marl, gravel and sand. 'fhe fl'ee stone

is of three kinds, yellow, white and red. 'I'he finest district in the county, both for situation and quality ofland

is in the whole space between the Mersey anc.l the Ribble, and between the sea coast and the first risings of the

high hills to the east. ,.fhe rich gt·ain land called the Fylde, comtnences on the north bank of the Ribble, and

stretches out to the south batik of. the Lqne. The soil of the northern part of the· county is chiefly

(!ry: the more high and mountainous tracts being chiefly occupied by sheep, while the various declivities and vallies in which they terminate are used for grazing. Grass land is· the most prevalent in the vicinity

o..f towns i n~rt~1ward the d_airy is frequently the main object, and ~he Fylde, t.he.Lune, an~ th~ Lo~

I• urncss distriCts are those principally appropnated to the growth of grain.. "fhe principal n1ountains In tins

co'!lnty are, Coniston Fell, in Furness, the highest part of which is 2.577 feet. Pendle Hill, overlooking

Chthero, is 1,803 feet; Bleasdale Forest is 1,709 feet; and Rivington Pike is 1,545 feet each above· the le\•el

of the sea. "fhe other con~iderable elevations are, Caton 1\'loor, Woolfell C1·ag, Padiharn Height~, Longridge Fell, Go Hill, Belling Hill, Hambleton Hill, Cartmel Fells and Gragrith Fell, with the ridge called

Blackstone Edge, which forms the south-east 'boundary of the county. It is a fact worthy of remark in

the annals of husb~ndry, that t~e first potatoes raised in England \Vere grown in this county, and it is still

famous. for p~·oducing and cooktng that valuable root. The value aud quantity of Jive stock has not been

ascertau!ed Since the alarm created from the threatened invasion by the French in 1803, when there were in

Lancashire, 648 oxen, 84,527 cows, 54,573 colts and young cattle, 80,772 she~p and goats, 30,982 pigs, 5,474

saddle horses, and 26,660 draught horses. ·

rrhe CLI!WAT~ of Lancashire is ~umi~, yet is the air genera1Iy pure and salubrious; on the north and eastern

boundarie~, tn t~e ~l~vated regton~, 1t 1s of c?urse cold and ptercing, but in the lower districts towards the

south.and west, It IS In general nuld and getnal : and although the occupations of a great body of the inhahi.

tants 111 the Jnanut~tctul·ing districts may be suppose~ to be unfavourable to health, such is the ini1.uence of the

climate, that as many old people are found in this county in .proportion i(). 'the number of inhabitants as in

most other parts.of the kingdom. With regar.d also to the popular error, of this county being singular as a

depository of exr.essivt- rains, and that" it is always raining at·Manchester;'' is capable of refutation, by refe...

1·ence to the meteorological observations, of the average quautity of rain fallen .in other places ; -and if suc

ceeding seasons bear but a similitude to the fine autumns of 182ft and -1827, this county will emancipa!e itself

from the appellation-long it ofbeing ''the water-pot of England.". . .

• MINES AND MlNE!tALS. "fhe most pr'?ductive·and exten8iV~ 0~ the mineral«;lgicB:l productions of this county.

IS coAL, the most 1lmportant of all Jninerals lo a nianufacturing com1nunity.. 'fhe. southern pa~t .of the

county presents 'a very extensive coal field, furnishing an abundant supply of fuel to the mauufacturiug dis..

tricts ; its boundary may he described by a line drawn from the junction .of the rivers 'l'ame and Mersey, near

Stockport northwards, towards Middleton, 'vest of Oldham, and thence in a westerly direction to the south

of Prescot, on N. w. to Ormskirk, and N. E. to Colne, on the border of Yorkshire. 'fhis valuable mineral is

found more.abundautly in the vicinity of Wigan, Pres.cot, Newton, Bolton, and Oldham, .than in the other,

parts. 'fhe principal beds ou the eastern 8ide of this -~n·and depository are about six feet -in thickness: thty

extend from the vicinity of Oldham to Rochdale and, Bury, but their continuity is broken by faults.and hy

deep vallies; and the ~eneral strata of Lancashire a1:e more irregular both iu. theit· dip and position than those.

of Yorkshire. Near Wigan a beautiful species of coal, ih appearance similar to black marble, of a very bitu"";

minous· quality is obtained, known by the na.n1e of can!lel. coal. On the western and southern· sides of

the county is found marl and sand stone; millstone gnt 1s -found· between Colne and· Blackburn, and

in other places; metalliferous lime sto,Je is the substratum between· Lancaster and Kirkby Lousdale•. "fhe

mounta~us of Furness have valuable roofing slate and limestone ; and near Ulverstone is produced a peculiar

ore of iron, yielding the best and most ductile of that metal, suited to the purpose of wire drawers. . . . ·

RIV.ERS, LAKES AND CANALS. 'fhe na\'igable rivers of the county are, the Mt-rsey, the Ribble, the Lone or

Loyne, the Irw.ell, the Douglas, the Wyre, the- Ken, :.the Leven,, the Dudden, and the Crake. ,"fhe

MERSEY is the boundary of Lancashire. and Cheshire in its whole course, ·and .is formed of the waters of

the 'fame, the Etherow and. the Goyt, ·which unite at Stock}?ort, and fall into the l1·ish sea a little below.

Liverpool. "fhe RIBBLE has its source in the high moorlan(Js of Craven, at Walton-le-dale receives the

rapid Derwent into its bosom,. and finally loses itst-lf in the Irish sea. "fhe LuNE rise::; at Lone head, in the

fells of Westmordand, receh·ing- in its course the Leek, the Greta and the Wenning, and falls into the bay

of l\'Iorecambe at Sunderland point. 'l'he lRWELL originates in two streams rising in the high moorlands of ·

the hundred of Blackburn, the conjunction of which takes place at the bead of the royal mano~ of .~rotting-.

ton: two miles heJo'v Bury :the waters of the Irwell are augmented by those of the Roach; at Manchester·

it receh·es tbP. Irk, and at Huln1e the 1\'ledlock deposits its stream, \Vhen thus increased, about nine miles

below 1\'lanchester, the lrwell n1erges in tbe l\1ersey._ 'fhe moo,rs -of ,Anglezark give birth to the DouGLAS,.

which in its· tra,..e1s receives the Lostock and the Yarrow, ·and disappears in the estuary of the Ribble, at

Hesketh Bank. 'l'he confluence of two strea1ns, at Hawthornwaite, produce:; the WYRE, which passes

Garstaug on to Ponlton-in-the-Fylde; afterwards, expanding into a spacious basin, called Wyre-water, at.

the lo\ver part .of which there is a strait, serviHg- as a secure and natural harbour for vessels of moderate.

burthen.- 'fhe LEVEN is fonned by the o,·erflow of \Vindennere lake, and passes along the borders of Upper

Holker into Morecan1bc bay, belo\v Ulverstont.'. 'fbe DuoDEN has its source iu the Tarns, .abo,re Seath

waite, and dividing Lancashire and Cumberland, falls into the Irish sea near th.e Isle of \Valney. The KEN,.

a boundary river between Lan.cashire and Westn1oreland, giviu~ name to the principal town, Kendal, in the

latter county, washes the banks of Arnside and Carbnel, and falls into the bav of 1\iorecaJDbe, above Lan

easter sands. "fhe CRAKE has its source in the southern extremity of Coniston lake, and descends into the

Leven near Penny bridge. rrhe greater number of the secondary rivers are those already uamed, as

enl'iching the streams of. others whose rise and course are more particulary described. 'l'he principal LAKES·

of this couuty are, CONISTON-WATER, embosumed in the centre of }.,.urness fells, from five to six n1iles in

length, and about half a mile broad ~~~its widest part; EASTI-HVAITE·WATER,.between Coniston and Winder-

n1cre, one mile and a half in length, and. rath~r more than a quarter of a mile in breadth: and WINDER•

MERE, the largest lake in England, being twe_lve miles in its ~xtre1ne length and about one mile in breadth. All

the islands of Windermere _are in Westmoreland, and the whole lake is annexed to the Richmond fee. ·

1'he CANALS in thi:, county are numerous;, to describe at full their various courses, aud to dwell

llpon the vast utility afforded to con1nle1·ce in the transition ~f merchandize by means of these grea*

\vorks of. internal navigation, would much exceed the space allotted in this \Vork fdr such .~pecies of

information. It appears that ~he first complete artificial canal was planned aud formed in Lancashire; this

is known bv the name of the SANKEY : the undertaking took place in 175f>, under an act of parliameut ; and.

another act of 1761, t-xtending the powers and the line of the \Vork. Its length from Fiddler's ferry to the

place where it separates into three branches is nine miles and a quarter, and the whole distance from the

1\lersey is eleven lPiles and three quarters. "fhe DuKE oF BRIDGEWATER's CANALS were commenced in

1758-9, when acts were passed, enabling him to carry into effect his stupendous views, aided by that.

wonderful self-taught gen1us, James Brindley. Neither rocks or hills, rivers or vallies, damped the ardour

of the undertakers of· these vast works : in their course, at one time, they are lost in immense tunnels,

and at other places .are carried over river~and mountains. 'fhe m!>st striking of all the ~queduct works is in

the first canal, where it passes over the rn·er Irwell, at Ba.rton br)(lge; the aqueduct beu1g upwards of 200

yards across the river, which rnns in a valley: O\'er the river itself it is conveyed by a stone bridge of great

strength and thickness, consisting ofthree arches, the centre one being thirty-eight feet abo\•e the surface or

the water; allowing a gratification ~o the ~pectator of be~olding one ves~5el sailing over the top of another,

with masts and sails standing. rfhi.:; eanal extends in various directions thirty Iniles. Another act was ·

obtained by the duke in 1761, for his canal and navigation from Manchestet· to Liverpool, which was .

finished in five years, and is twenty-nine miles in length to its termination at Runcol'n ~ap. An act, in 1795, ·

empowered this spirited nobleman to cut a bt·anch from hi.s canal_, at Worsley, to Leigh. The 'fRENT. AND

1\IERSEY coMMUNICATION, the plans for which were agttated 1n 1755, wPre final1y executed under -the

powers of an act passed in 1766 : and openS\ an inland con1munication between the ~reat ports of I.Jil'erpool

and Hull; and the vast idea arose out of this work of coonectin~ aln1ost allthe midland counties of England

with each other. 'fhe LEEDS AND LIVERPOOL canal was begun In the latterend of the year 1770, .when the .

act was obtained ; the whole length of the line of this canal, from Leeds :to Lh•erpool,. including the ·

portio~ of the Lan~aste•: canal, is. upwards of 12! n1iles~ M_ANCHESTERy Borro~ AND BuRY- CANAL, tl_1e act

for \vluch wa~ obtained 10 1791, 1s more than fifteen miles In length, comn1enc1ng on the western s1de of

Manchester, from the l'iver lrwcll. In 1792 an act was olltained for makiug the 1\lANCHESTER, AsfJTON- .

UNDER-LINE AND 0LDHAM CANAL, which comn1ences on the east side of Manchester, and is in len~th elt'ven

n1iles, a branch ~oing from this canal to Stocl\port. T'he RocHDAJ:..E CANAL obtained its act in 1794, which

authorizes a navigation fron1 the Duke's canal, at 1\1anchester, to the Calder navigation, at Sowerby bridge,

ut'ar Halifax; its whole length being, from one extremity to the other, thirty-one miles and a half. An act

for cutting the HuDDERSFIELD CANAL passed in April, 1794; its ~a:stern extremity being the Asht9n-under

line canal, and its we~tern, S~r John Ramsden's-caual, to the Calder, the length being nearly twenty miles  

The LANCASTER CANAL, for ·which an act was obtained in 1792, comn1ences at Kcndal and tern1inates at

West Houghton, being a distance of more than seventy-five miles. '!'he ULVERSTONE CANAL is a short cut,

about a mile and a half in length, communicating with the uavigable channel of the bay of .1.\tlorecatnbe and

the river Leven. "fhe ELLESMERE CANAL, though forming no part of the·inland navigation of Lancashire,

opens a passage fro1n t.he Mersey to the Dee, and connects the trade of this county with the Severn aud North

Wales. Besides these several canals, the advantages and means of inland na\'igation have been increased by


mode of conveyance, more 1;apid, and it is anticipated will be more economical, than water carriage, is in great

forwardness, in the shape of an iron rail-way, bttween Livel'pool and Manchester: the project was f9rmcd in

1822, but the measur~s were not immediately followed up; the work is, however, now proceeding with great

activity, and sanguine expectations are awakened as to its profitable results•

.1\lANUFACTURES.-Under this head, unless n1any pages were devoted to it, justice could not be done to the

vast subject : this 'vork can only glide upon the surface, without entering into the depths of those

materials, which have contributed to the wealth, and excited the ingenuity ofthe inhabitants of Lancashire;

and placed their countv in so proudly prominent a position amongst the counties· of England. The county

has prospered by all fabrics produced from the fleece, the labours of the silk-worm; and the culture of flax,

but more especially by the never-failing bounty of the cotton tree. 'rhe earth aboutiding with a mineral

essentially necessary to the consummation of the various works of the loom, has yielded up her richest~ aid

the industry of the artizan, and facilitate his labours. "rhe cotton trade forms the staple of the county, in

the manufacture of which, till the middle of the 18th century, the weavers were accusto:ned to throw their

shuttle ftom hand to hand, through the meshes of the work: in 1738 the fly shuttle was invented by Mr.

John Kay. In 1767 James Hargrave, of Blackburn, constructed a spinning-jenny, that would spin 20 or 30

threads into yal'n; aud in this year, rrhomas Highs, a reed maker, invented _a machine called the water frame

throstle, for the spinning of twist by rollers. In the same year Rithard Arkwright, of Preston, then residing

in Bolton, a~ active, enterprising and intelligent man, posses~ed hin1self of a mo~el of High~' spinning

frame, and this was the germ of Mr. Arkwright's future prosperity, and of the extension of the cotton trade.

In 1785 the patent right of Sir Richard Arkwright's machinery was destroyed, by a decision of the court of

King's Bench, and all the accumulated improvements thrown open to the trade. Sir Richard was born at

Preston, in 1732, and \Vas brought up to the trade of a barber : he received the honour of knighthood upon

presenting a congratulatory address from the hundred of Wirksworth to his late Majesty, on his escape

from the attetnpt of Margaret Nicholson, and died in the ·year 1792. In 1775 the n1nle was invented by a

Mr. Crompton, of Bolton ; in 1787 Bolton & Watt's rotative steam engine was introduced by l\1essrs. Puls,

at Warrington: and in the same year the power loom was brought into action by a Mr. Cartwl'ight. Inkles,

tapes, checks, ·woollens, flannels, baizes, linens, fine fabrics of cottou and h~ts, all rank amongst the manufactures of this county; besides silk, which of late years has increased to a prodigious importance. Calico

printing, bleaching, and dying are perforn1ed on a large scale; machine making, iron founding, and pap~r

making, clain1 a considerable share of consequence~ and the glass and earthenware mauufacturing establishJhents are very numerous. · ,

'rhis county ii divided into six hundreds, \·iz. AMOUNDERNESS, BLACKBURN, LEYLAND, LONSDALE,

SALFORD, and WEsT DERBY; these contain 66 pat ishes, 29 market towns, 442 townships, and six parliamentary boroughs, which are, LANCASTER, LIVERPOOL, PRESTON, WIGAN, CLITHERO, and NEWTON,

each returning two members; be~ides two others for the county, for which the present are, Lord Stauley

·and John Blackbut·ne, esq. --

PoPULATION. According to the census of 1821, there were houses inhabited in the_county, 176,449; uninhabited, 5759; aud houses building, 1735. The number of families then resident in the county \vas 203,173;

comprising 512,476 n1ales, and 540,383 females; total, 1,052,859: and by a calculation n1ade by order of

government, which included persons in the anny and uavy, for which \vas added after the ratio ofabout one to

thirty prior to the year 1811, and one to fifty for that year and the census of 1821, to the returns n1ade. from the several districts; the population of the county, in t;()und numbers, in the year 1700, was 166.200 in 1750, 297.400, in 1801, 695.100 in 1811, 856.000 and in 1821, 1.074.000. the increased population in the fifty years, from the year 1700 was 131.200 from 1750 to 1801, the increase was 397.700 from 1801 to 1811, the increase was 160.900 and from 1811 to 1821, the increased number of persons was 218.000; the ~n·and total increase in the population of the county, fronl the year 1700 to the census of 1821, being about 907.800 persons.